COVID-19

Riverside County/TWITTER

A state run oxygen depot was set up Thursday in Riverside County to supply area hospitals and relieve high demand on oxygen suppliers. 

The depot, operating 24 hours a day, is made up of two large oxygen generators that can fill up tanks used by hospitals to supplement regional supply.

In a release, Riverside County Emergency Management Director Bruce Barton said oxygen suppliers are having a difficult time meeting the high demands of area hospitals. He explained COVID patients need a lot of oxygen which has been taxing the entire healthcare system.

Despite a slower than anticipated rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, San Bernardino County is doing better than the state average for administering the immunization so far.

“To date, we have approximately vaccinated, about 45 percent of our allocation," said Arrowhead Regional Medical Center CEO Andrew Goldfrach. "In comparison, the state is seeing about 30 percent.”

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center/TWITTER

San Bernardino County health officials told the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday that area hospitals are preparing to enter "crisis care" mode.

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Hospital Director, Bill Gilbert, told the board this means staff will have to look at demand versus resources.

"Basically, the message to our staff, respectively, is do more with less," said Gilbert. "We expect that there will be another surge in the next few weeks, and we are seeing that already in our emergency rooms.”

County of Riverside

The combined case count of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has passed 400,000. 

Riverside County reported more than 17,000 new infections on Monday, reflecting test results from the extended holiday weekend.

That brought the county’s cumulative case total to 198,236 cases as of Monday.

There have also been 2,096 confirmed deaths from the virus in Riverside County.

Meanwhile, San Bernardino County reported more than 18,000 new infections, bringing that county’s total to 203,309.

Southern California Stay-at-Home Orders Extended

Dec 29, 2020
pixabay

With ICU capacity at zero percent, the Southern California region will remain under lockdown for at least the next three weeks.

Inland News Today reports the Stay-at-Home order mandates the following closures:

County of Riverside

The rate of intensive care unit admissions for both Riverside and San Bernardino County rose sharply in the last few days. 

In Riverside County, the number of people in intensive care for COVID-19 broke records on both Saturday and Sunday.

As of Sunday, the number of people hospitalized in Riverside County for COVID-19 stood at 1,367, with 282 people in intensive care.

San Bernardino County, meanwhile, has twice as many COVID-19 patients in intensive care as it had a month ago.

Congregations for Prophetic Engagement/FACEBOOK

As COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in the Inland Empire, two organizations, Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement and Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches, hosted a virtual event on December 16. They brought the faith and science communities together to address fears and help the African American community make an informed decision about the vaccine.

Riverside University Health System

Standing in the hospital parking lot during a press conference, emergency room housekeeper Alexa Lara said when she first heard about the vaccine she was hesitant to take it. But after learning about how it works, she volunteered to be among the first to receive it.

“I am at a daily exposure and I do have concerns and worries every day when I go home that I might bring something home to my family," said Lara. 

state.gov

A worsening COVID-19 outbreak at Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino has prompted the nonprofit Disability Rights California to demand the hospital release a sizable portion of its patients there. 

349 patients at Patton have tested positive for COVID-19 and 11 patients have died since May.

More than 100 patients have tested positive in the last 15 days.

The facility is a lockdown hospital for people with mental illness committed by the courts, and has 1,527 beds.

San Bernardino County/TWITTER

Just six hours after over 15,600 Pfizer vaccine doses arrived in San Bernardino County, the very first shot was given to ICU nurse Sonya Harrell at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Wednesday afternoon.

“For me, it means an end in sight to something we’ve been dealing with since March, so I’m really excited about it,” said Harrell.

www.ou.org

The first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines is expected to arrive in San Bernardino County Wednesday and Riverside County Friday as ICU capacity continues to shrink and deaths are on the rise. That's according to the latest reports provided by county officials at Tuesday's Riverside and San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors meetings.

Both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties continue to report record highs for COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations at their Board of Supervisors meetings December 8. This comes as all Southern California counties adjust to stay at home orders that will last through Dec 28.

Riverside County Director of Public Health, Dr. Kim Saruwatari, told her Board of Supervisors that the intent of the new order is to keep people at home unless it is absolutely necessary for them to go out.

scag.ca.gov

Top economists at Monday’s annual Southern California Association of Governments(SCAG) Summit said the region is in for a slow pandemic recovery with lower income groups continuing to suffer most.

With the disproportionate loss of low income and entry level jobs and continued rising housing costs, experts say the pandemic is making clear the weaknesses and inequalities that existed before the virus upended the economy. This is why many are stressing the need for an inclusive economic development plan.

High Desert artists L.I. Henley and Zara Kand have created a new chapbook called “From the moon, as I fell” which is full of poetry and paintings inspired both by the desert and by the isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. KVCR's Benjamin Purper interviews Henley and Kand about the book, including what the authors call "emotional landscapes," the feminist themes running throughout the book, and how COVID-19 has changed the desert community of Joshua Tree. 

Both Riverside and San Bernardino Counties are asking residents to gather responsibly this Thanksgiving as COVID-19 numbers rose quickly in November.

At a press conference Tuesday, Riverside County Public Health Director Dr. Kim Saruwatari urged residents to plan "smaller, shorter and safer" holiday celebrations.

As the pandemic rages on, public trust in institutions is down and disparities across society are up. A panel of U.C. Riverside and U.C. Merced social scientists met virtually on November 19 to dig into why.

During the two-hour panel they shared the ways COVID-19 is worsening existing inequalities across sectors like health, education and the work force. Several panelists pointed to the question of who has the power in policy decision-making and if they are asking the right questions.

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced on Thursday a limited Stay at Home Order that requires non-essential work, movement and gatherings to stop between 10 PM and 5 AM in counties in the purple tier. The order will take effect at 10 PM Saturday, November 21 and remain in effect until 5 AM December 21.

National Institute of Health

The news of two promising COVID-19 vaccines, had both the Riverside and San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors discussing preliminary plans for distribution at their meetings Tuesday.

San Bernardino County Director of Public Health Corwin Porter says it is not yet clear how many doses the state is set to receive, but the latest vaccine news provides some mid-term hope.

“So that is good news for us because that is one way that we can help combat obviously the virus which has taken a major toll on our county,” said Porter.

County of Riverside

Both Riverside County and San Bernardino County are seeing a spike in coronavirus hospitalizations. 

First, Riverside County.

There were at least 228 coronavirus patients in Riverside County hospitals on Sunday, which is a jump of 57% from one month ago.

The confirmed case total is at 71,620 with 1,388 deaths.

As for San Bernardino County, hospitalizations are up 40% from a month ago.

The confirmed case count there is 68,865 with 1,096 deaths.

U.C. Riverside’s School of Business gave an optimistic outlook for the Inland Empire’s economic recovery from the pandemic-related recession during its annual conference on October 13. In many sectors, the region fairs better than the state despite a slowed recovery of jobs lost due to the shutdown. 

Dr. Christopher Thornberg, director of U.C.R.’s Center for Economic Forecasting, says record home sales and increased consumer spending in recent months shows that people are learning to live as normally as possible with COVID-19.

Riverside County received a warning from the state Tuesday that it is in danger of slipping back into the first phase or purple tier of the re-opening plan. This could cause some recently reopened businesses to close once again. 

On September 22, Riverside County’s COVID-19 numbers were improving and so the county advanced into the state’s second or red tier re-opening phase, allowing some businesses like gyms, restaurants and salons to partially resume indoor services.

state.gov

Through COVID-19 contact tracing, Riverside County is now reaching close to 100 percent of infected people and San Bernardino County is reaching nearly 70 percent.  KVCR’s Megan Jamerson reports tracing plus testing is key to getting the counties moved to the next tier on the state’s re-opening scheme.

Lana Culp, spokesperson for San Bernardino County Public Health, says tracing has shown that a lot of transmission is happening through gatherings between family and friends. Which she says is hard to avoid in a time when seeing those people brings comfort.

Twitter/ City of Riverside

City of Riverside gyms, fitness centers and places of worship can now apply to operate in city parks for free following a city council vote on Tuesday. KVCR’s Megan Jamerson has more on what this means.

In a press release Wednesday, Mayor Rusty Bailey said physical and spiritual well-being is essential during the pandemic and that the expansion of Riverside’s outdoor flex program aims to help with both.

cdc.gov

Riverside County health officials reported the area’s first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome also known as MIS-C on Tuesday. It is a rare, but serious condition that can damage multiple organs in children who are exposed to or had COVID-19. 

A child under the age of 15 from western Riverside County is believed to have the first case. Officials also reported a probable second case of a child from the Coachella Valley.

state.gov

There are several indicators that can put a county on the state’s coronavirus watchlist. And as of Tuesday, both Riverside and San Bernardino County case rates and the testing positivity rates are still too high to be removed. 

Riverside County Health Department spokesman Jose Arballo says the area has a mixed bag of numbers. It has 196 cases per 100,000 people, and a test positivity rate of 11 percent. But there are plenty of ICU beds and ventilators available.

pixnio

Inland Empire restaurants and grocery stores are having difficulty providing exact change due to a national coin shortage.

The supply chain interruption for coins first started when businesses and banks closed due to the pandemic. Then stay at home orders for Fed employees meant coin production slowed down. Now to ease the shortage, there are strict limits on bank requests for dimes, nickels, quarters and pennies.

AFP via telesur

Immigrant rights groups held a virtual press conference on August 13 condemning the use of a chemical disinfectant at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center in the Mojave Desert. A lawsuit asking for the release of all detainees was filed in April due to coronavirus concerns, and now members of Congress are calling for an investigation. 

Advocates say they started receiving calls from detainees in May reporting symptoms. They allege they came into contact with a hazardous chemical staff were using in unventilated areas to disinfect for COVID-19.

pxhere

In the spring, as COVID-19 halted the economy, automobile use plummeted. And so did greenhouse gas emissions. Now, a whitepaper from the University of California Riverside's(U.C.R.) Center for Economic Forecasting and Development says this will not last and, instead, California’s goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions may be out of reach. 

Like so many annual events, California’s largest pow wow is facing cancellation this year due the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In an announcement by the San Manuel Pow Wow Committee on August 4, the members say they made the decision to cancel this year's event with a heavy heart.

The pow wow was planned for October at the San Manuel Stadium in San Bernardino. But the committee says cancellation is the most responsible decision in order to protect the health and safety of their tribe and traveling guests.

Preliminary results from a COVID-19 antibody testing study reveal that 175,000 people may have been infected with the coronavirus in Riverside County. 

The number comes from a randomized study by the Riverside University Health System released Monday.

The study of 1,726 randomly chosen residents showed 1,621 tested negative and 101 had developed COVID-19 antibodies.

Based on that data, it is estimated there have been between 118,000 and 175,400 infections in Riverside County.

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